One of the most challenging and interesting aspects of the New Home Building Process is figuring out the right architectural plan. Most of us are not regular readers of Architectural Digest magazine and are unfamiliar with deciphering architectural renderings. You may know what you want in terms of bedrooms, baths, number of garages, and square footage and may even have a good idea of the type of layout you prefer. However, intelligent home design is a critical aspect of ensuring that what you want flows well and enhances your lifestyle.
Just about every real estate agent can tell you a “horror story” of a home that they have toured which was poorly designed. These homes are very difficult to re-sell. Poor design can be complicated by a variety of factors which include an awkward layout, inadequate space allotments, sloppy construction and inferior workmanship. Sometimes potential homeowners, in their desire to build their perfect dream home end up creating something that no one else in the world wants! This is not a problem…unless you want or need to sell the home in the future.
Prior to consulting an architect, it is wise to begin to do some of your own private research. Take the time to tour model homes and developments under construction. Although these homes may not be located in areas that you are interested in, this exercise will give you some ideas about different types of architectural plans and is a great way to pick up interior design tips. Invest in some money in magazines and books which feature a variety of house plans. Cut out or highlight designs that you like and place them in a file. This will be very helpful as a reference source if you do end up working with an architect.
There are also many services which provide ready made house plans which can be ordered on line. This option can be less expensive than having an architect create an architectural rendering. However, the trade off is that you may not be able to modify the drawing OR be charged additional fees to do so. As you tour various homes through Open Houses or in a Parade of Homes Tour, you are likely to see a home which might work for you with some modification. Sometimes, a builder will be willing to absorb the costs of modifying the architectural design if you agree to utilize the services of his particular company.
If you are building a custom home you may choose to obtain the services of a qualified architect. The best way to find an architect is to be referred to one who has done a good job for someone you know or for a builder you’re working with. In addition to the yellow pages, other resources to find architects include talking with local engineering companies and visiting your lumbar yard. Yes…you read it right. Lumber yards and other businesses which specialize in supplying home building materials can often refer you to good architects. These types of referrals have the added benefit of increasing the probability that you will be working with someone who is also familiar with the practical elements and costs associated with building a home…not just a well educated specialist on design theory.
Like every specialty, architects specialize in a wide variety of projects. Make sure that you interview a prospective architect to determine if he has experience with the type of residential design you are interested in building. It is also wise to ask for a list of references to interview and if possible visit or tour homes that the architect has designed. As you talk with other homeowners, you will begin to have a better sense of what is important to you. These insights will prove invaluable in ensuring that you build a home which is truly right for you!